MTN’s latest financial results show that the company’s subscriber base in South Africa has dropped to 29.8 million.
MTN South Africa’s prepaid and post-paid segments declined by 2.7% to 24.7 million and 2.1% to 5.1 million, respectively.
The company said network outages, competition, and economic pressure impacting consumer spending affected its growth.
In an interview with Business Day TV, MTN SA CEO Mteto Nyati said Vodacom’s aggressive promotions – like its 1GB data plus R300 free airtime – saw its prepaid subscribers move to Vodacom.
“When we looked at those promotions, we felt that we did not want to respond to Vodacom’s promotions,” said Nyati.
“We did not want to respond, largely because our focus right now is to make sure our network is of quality, and should be better. It should be the same or better than Vodacom,” said Nyati.
He told the Sunday Times that “we could not bring new subscribers onto a weak network. We had to take care of that first”.
“The key that we have as a business right now is let us fix the basics. That means, let us address all of the things that are affecting, right now, our customers.”
Nyati said while they do not want a drop in subscriber numbers, it is a consequence of the company getting the basics right first.
“If we start to drive some of the aggressive promotions or marketing when the basics are not sorted out, it is going to be a challenge to our business,” said Nyati.
“So, in the long term, what we are doing is to fix the basics and get back to the play.”